A good vagina steam tale has been on our roster of wellness stories for quite some time now, we had even invested in a variety but making the time to pamper your downstairs mix-up in the world of the modern woman is a toughie. It wasn’t until one night, upright in bed working late, and plagued by cramps that I remembered my little savior satchels of colorful V-steam. As The question stands, is steaming your vagina a thing? We tested the waters for you.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of steaming your vagina we were too until we caught wind that Gwyneth Paltrow does it — and we can only imagine her entire femininity to be goddess-like in every way so naturally we already had our bags packed to jump on that wagon. Gwyn re-popularized the V-steam via Goop about a year ago but this alternative wellness practice has been around for centuries. Chai-yok is the ancient Korean practice in which women would sit above a pot of herbs to balance, refresh, and beautify their lady bits. In Spanish culture it is called Bajos, and even in India it was a ritual followed by women before their menstrual cycle, or attempts to procreate. I imagined these ethereal Indian women, a henna-clad foot on either side, balancing over a stone pot of petals — my at home trial, though effective, was not as glamorous a scene.
Other than a dramatically high-maintenance extended beauty routine anecdote to share with your girlfriends over brunch, Chai-yok is actually said to have some seriously helpful health benefits. The process helps reduce bloating, and the pains of an on-coming period, while promoting healthy blood-flow, encourages fertility, and aids in repairing the female organs after childbirth. There has of course been some debate whether this process is actually necessary or not as our vaginas are self-cleaning and healing, but we say why not give it an extra botanical boost?
There’s two ways you can do this, process goes as follows (we can tell you right now, this is not how Gwyn does it):
- Purchase your herbs of choice — we suggest this one (portions are one bag per steam)
- Bring a pot of water to a boil
- This is where it becomes a pick your own adventure — you can either pour entire pot into clean toilet bowl or you can pour the herbs into the electric kettle or steaming pot and mix in a half bag of herbs — let steep for a few minutes
- Remove clothing waist down and place yourself either on toilet with a towel draped over your legs to keep the steam in, or stand above the kettle/ pot with a towel wrapped around your torso and legs
- Suggested time is 30 minutes but we say sit for as long as you like. Once you feel it has cooled you can repeat using the rest of the bag. Repeat as many times as you would like
After following these steps I was pleasantly surprised at how the herbs were able to relax my cervix to the point of diminishing cramps entirely. I ended up staying in place for over 40 minutes I was in such a state of comfort. Though I can’t speak to long-term benefits, or fertility sorcery, I can say it was a ritual I would gladly take on once a month — feeling balanced, and pampered like Cleopatra herself.